Increasing petrol prices are driving record demand for electric vehicles in Australia, but many disappointed motorists are discovering a serious lack of supply.

Now innovative businesses are offering conversions, turning old gas guzzlers into a fully electric engine.

“There’s no car that can’t be converted,” according to Graeme Manietta from DIY Electric Vehicles, though the cost can vary depending on your car.

Manietta built his first electric car in his Logan workshop way back in 2007 and the interest quickly spread.

“People kept saying, ‘Oh, can you give me the bits so I can do one’ and it just snowballed to the point where it’s now a business,” Manietta said.

That business is now booming, with thousands of motorists wanting to convert their engine to be petrol-free, removing the exhaust system and radiator too but adding in batteries to power the car.

“In 10 years time, I think it’ll be so cheap to put in a 1000km range of battery because the technology is improving at an exponential rate,” he said.

The cost of a conversion starts at $16,000 which will give you a range of 100 kilometres.

Longer range means more batteries pushing the cost higher and newer cars can also be more expensive to switch.

The batteries should last at least 10 years and possibly up to 18 years depending how much you drive.

“I fully believe that in 10 years time, people will look at a person driving a diesel powered car like we look at a smoker nowadays with a bit of disdain,” he said.

“Regardless of what the naysayers and the coal huggers all carry on about, we need clean air, we need a clean environment.”

Brendan Poole is one person happy he made the switch after saving a Nissan Tiida from the scrap heap.

“It’d run, then stop and I thought, ‘Great, that’s not going to be a problem for me, I’ll take the motor out, put an electric one in’,” Poole said.

Now he cruises the streets of Brisbane without even a care of what petrol prices have jumped to.

“It was a petrol car blowing smoke and now it’s not, so it’s still got a second life,” Poole said.

Manietta said it’s known as the “EV grin” when electric vehicle owners drive past a petrol station, smiling at the money they are saving.

He also converted what could be Australia’s first electric Landcruiser with a 300 horsepower motor that can tow a 3.5 tonne horse float for more than 200 kilometres on a single charge.

It was needed in the outback where diesel prices are sky high and solar power is plentiful meaning its owner runs it for free.

“Because we have solar, we have no fuel costs, we don’t have any electricity costs, so we’re so far ahead of the ball,” Manietta said.

“And we’re not rocket scientists, this is just common sense.”

But the trained mechanic is downplaying just how clever he is, with his team creating its very own vehicle control unit, allowing them to work with existing electric cars that have ended their battery life.

He also now recycles the vehicle batteries into powerwalls that you can attach to your home solar unit, where the required amps are lower.

“The future for our business is taking old expired batteries out, recycling them into the powerwalls and putting new batteries in and double the range,” he said.

Australian motorists have suffered from the “climate wars” that plagued federal politics for more than a decade, slowing the arrival of electric cars which make up just 3 per cent of new vehicle sales.

Conversions are now slowly filling the void with companies similar to Oz DIY Electric Vehicles popping up all around Australia.

He will be one of hundreds of businesses showcasing their wares at the Electric Dreams exhibition at Brisbane Showgrounds on July 2 to July 3, with more dates expected around the country.

Extracted in full from: How Aussie motorists can convert engines to be petrol-free (